Why I read young adult books
By Jessica on April 10th, 2012
Anyone who has met me or read a blog post or two by me knows that I am a pretty voracious reader. It is both a joy and an occupational hazard. When I came across The Power of Young Adult Fiction in the New York Times’ Room for Debate section, I couldn’t help but read it. It then made me ask myself: Why do I read YA?
I’ll admit it. Aside from some notable exceptions (Harry Potter!), before I began working for Scholastic, I mainly read adult books as an adult. Even then it was a lot of assigned reading and research, first in history and then librarianship. And then I started working at admittedly the coolest job I’ve ever had.
At first I started reading YA because I found myself surrounded by these books which I could check out and an hour long train commute each way. I told myself that it was part of my job. It is helpful to know what I was getting in all of those boxes, after all. That is how I started reading YA books as an adult. Thinking about it now, that isn’t why I keep reading YA books.
I read YA books for the same reason anyone reads any book: Because they are good. Think about it. Books today have to be good. There is so much competition for your time and attention with all of the entertainment options available to you that a book must hook you pretty much from the first word. That is true for any book but it must be doubly true for YA books because of their intended audience. A YA book must have multidimensional characters, an engaging plot, and that certain something that just makes you want to turn the page to find out what happens next.
Knowing that I wasn’t the only one to devour YA books by choice, I asked other OOMers why they were lovers of teen literature. I loved their answers so much that I couldn’t resist sharing them with you.
Morgan: The short answer is, I don’t really know. But the long answer is, the people I know who read and write YA all come from different teenage experiences: student council presidents, loners, athletes, misfits, artists, geeks. And yet we all find something in teen lit that speaks to us — something universal about the experience of simply being a teen, and surviving those years. And I find that really special.
Megan: I read YA because of the compelling, satisfying plot lines, and the great character development. And also, honestly, I love that I can read them quickly (they fill a bus ride or lazy afternoon). Not that I don’t love undertaking a serious read, but it’s nice to know I can read them in a snap and still take away a great story.
Michael: I’m actually not only an advocate of reading YA but also other kids books. As I have said before, reading is a social experience and the shared experience of reading a book can help you connect with kids. Trends and bestsellers in YA tend to change more often so reading YA is particularly important to stay current.
So that is some of the reasons that we read YA literature. Now we really want to hear from you! Why do you read YA literature? Tell us in the comments!